Buccaneers Draft 2017: Jason Licht Loves His First Round Pick O.J. Howard
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was somewhat surprised but clearly happy with his selection of O.J. Howard.
Who doesn’t love a tall glass of O.J. in the morning? Well Buccaneers fans near and far are buzzing this morning for their new O.J. For anyone who missed it, the Bucs selected O.J. Howard with the 19th pick of the draft. It seemed like the stars were aligning for the hometown boy, Dalvin Cook, but the Bucs went in a different direction. We loved it and so did the fans.
Following the pick as is customary, general manager Jason Licht met with the media to discuss the selection. Clearly he was happy, although initially he didn’t believe it was possible:
"“There was a point, before our pick, when we started doing our math and assessing the needs of other teams and who they’re linked to, we thought there was a chance at a certain point. Now, starting with pick one, we probably wouldn’t have bet on it. But it is what it is. We feel like we got a windfall right now.”"
Sometimes things just break the right way:
"“You know, it’s just the way it goes sometimes. I know that he was linked to almost every team as being one of the best players on the board. You take need into consideration and I know that there were probably a lot of discussions, whether the team [needed] a tight end, but they had a bigger need somewhere else, I would have to ask those other teams once this dust settles. But we’re not going to worry about that, we’re just going to concentrate on bringing them in here.”"
Why Howard? Best player or need? Sometimes, it’s both:
"“We always like to stick to the best player and where needs meet and we felt like we had a need at tight end. You can’t get through a season with just a couple – you’ve seen the injuries that we’ve had here in the past. Like I said, we feel like he’s going to be a guy that develops into a good line of scrimmage blocker and then he’s a 4.5 [second 40-yard dash] guy at six-foot-six, 250 [pounds] – he can stretch the field. I know Jameis, like I said before, I got a text from him with about a million smiley faces, so I know he’s happy.”"
There may have been some surprise last night. Personally, I thought the pick was going to be Dalvin Cook and was shocked when it wasn’t. After thinking about it, the move makes a lot of sense. The NFL is a passing league, and now Jameis Winston has weapons galore. This is going to be an offense that is tough to stop, and they still have plenty of time to add a running back.
O.J. Howard measured in at 6’6″ inches at the NFL Combine. When it comes to red zone play, you need tall players. Add Howard to Mike Evans and Cameron Brate, and you have a forest that Winston can put the ball up to. One of those tall branches is bound to bring the football in. If they are covered, the smaller bush if you will, DeSean Jackson, can make the catch underneath everybody.
This move is a great value at 19, and will benefit the Bucs greatly in 2017 and beyond.
Next: Draft Grades: O.J. Howard
I am sure Jason Licht has some great things in store for us in day two and three. It’s an exciting time for this team. Enjoy the rest of the draft everybody.